SUGAR GOES BY MANY NAMES and hides where we’d least expect it. Molasses and maltose? Sugar. Corn syrup and sucrose? Sugar. Honey and agave nectar? They’re sugar too! As your South San Francisco dentists, we want to support your New Year oral health goals by teaching you how to identify sugar hiding in your food.
We Consume a Jaw-Dropping Amount of Sugar
Sugar in some form is added to 74 percent of packaged foods, and the average American consumes 57 POUNDS of added sugar every year. That’s a lot of fuel for the harmful bacteria living in our mouths (particularly during orthodontic treatment when there are so many extra nooks and crannies for food to stay trapped after meals and snacks).
Sugar Versus Oral Health
Sugar has many negative health effects, but as dental professionals, we’re focused on how it impacts our teeth. Sugar consumption is closely linked to gum disease and tooth decay, and it can eventually lead to needing treatment like fillings and root canal therapy.
Common Sugar Names
Food manufacturers have used up to 56 names to describe sugar in their ingredients list. The most common ones are: dextrose, fructose, lactose, sucrose. Just look for ingredients that end with "ose". Some newer terms even sound healthier like evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup or fruit juice concentrate. Confusing enough? A quick way is to look at the sugar content in the nutrition label. For a typical adult diet, look for food that have less than 15 grams of sugar per serving. Keep in mind, the American Heart Association's recommendation is to consume less than 36 grams of sugar for men and 25 grams for women a day. One 12oz can of soda is already 38 grams of sugar!
How to Cut Back on Sugar
So how can we avoid sugar when it has so many disguises? The easiest way is to cut out sugary sodas, fruit juices, and cereals for ourselves and our kids. We should also pay attention to food labels and try to buy foods with less added sugar. If we make more of our food from scratch, we’ll have better control of how much sugar goes into it!
Let's make 2022 a little healthier by cutting back on our sugar, and coming to our dental check-ups regularly. If it's been more than six months, since your last exam and cleaning, schedule today. You can request an appointment online or give us a call or text at (650) 871-1400. We hope to see you soon!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.